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Public Comment Period Extended for Fire Island National Seashore Dredging Projects

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Date: October 22, 2013
Contact: Michael Bilecki, Chief of Natural Resources Management , 631-687-4760
Contact: Paula Valentine, Public Affairs, 631-687-4759

Patchogue, NY – The National Park Service (NPS) has extended the public comment period for an environmental assessment (EA) that proposes to dredge the existing navigational channels and their associated marinas and docking facilities at three sites on Fire Island. The closing date for the comments about the project, EA for Dredge Sailors Haven, Watch Hill, and Barrett Beach Channels and Marinas for Public Use and Safety, will now end on October 27, 2013. Comments may still be submitted electronically through the NPS PEPC web site: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/fiis or by mail:

Fire Island National Seashore
Attn: Superintendent – Dredging EA Comments
120 Laurel Street Patchogue, NY 11772-3596

The original 30-day comment period ended on October 9, ten days into the government shutdown. "Our planning team requested that we reopen the comment period for an additional week," said Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Christopher Soller, "in order to accommodate anyone who was unable to submit their feedback while the web site was inaccessible."

The purpose of the projects is to re-establish safe, public access to NPS facilities in the aftermath of multiple storm events, including Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Navigation channels at these locations provide vessel access that is utilized by the general public, concession operated ferries, NPS personnel, law enforcement, emergency response vessels and others. Sediment that has accumulated in the navigation channels, marinas and around some of the docking facilities at these three areas has caused the channels to narrow to a width significantly below the width considered adequate for safe passage. Restoring channel depths and widths to their previous dimensions through re-dredging will provide the required, continued safe access to Fire Island at the project areas. Continuation of current conditions would ultimately result in damage to natural resources from boats running aground and property damage to vessels. Ultimately, it could lead to the cancellation of ferry operations, the inability of concessionaires to service their businesses, and the loss of public access to some Fire Island National Seashore facilities.

The EA was completed in accordance with the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality.

No public meetings have been planned for this project. Notification of the EA has been made to the State of New York, various federal agencies, affected communities, area landowners and parties who have expressed an interest in this project. A copy of the EA can be downloaded from the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) webpage.

For more information about Fire Island National Seashore, visit the park's web site at www.nps.gov/fiis.

www.nps.gov

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

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